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Mesh Is Coming

I managed to drop by the Irish Embassy pub for a little pre-mesh get together the other night. In case you haven’t heard, Mesh was this little ‘unconference’ that a bunch of guys organized with zero advertising but still sold out the joint through word of mouth marketing (read: blogs). For a recap of the last Mesh conference, check it out this article.

Despite it being a weekday, there was a full complement of Toronto’s digerati. Whether it was bloggers, podcasters, journalists, students, pr consultants, agency side or client side folks, all the major groups were in the house. I met some pretty cool folks.

One conversation that stuck out in my mind was with Chris Clarke aka. Magnum PR and Matthew Ingram, who is one of the MESH organizers and writer for some newspaper. It was interesting speaking to Matthew and getting his perspective on things. Rather than being a pure capitalist and driving up the cost of this next conference, the organizers are deliberately trying to keep the costs reasonable so the next Mesh is still accessible to everyone rather than just some middle-management retreads who couldn’t give a fig about the web, much less web 2.0. Although that wasn’t an issue last year as they actually turned away people at the door because they didn’t want to violate fire code regulations.

I was also impressed with Matthew’s perspective that they wanted to make Mesh 2.1 accessible to as many students as possible again because they are the future of this online industry. Makes sense as we are experiencing an acute shortage of qualified people that doesn’t appear to be getting better anytime soon.

So you could say it was quite the lovely evening. What was also very cool was that it was the open-invitation. None of the snotty, you need to RSVP or be some big shot. The only possible downside of the night was Stuart MacDonald taking some good natured shots at my company. But as he’s one of the organizers and more importantly a friend, I’m willing to take the grief. Since Mesh tickets will probably be a very hot commodity in May 2007, I might even buy them en masse and start selling them for a premium on eBay. Call it Scalping 2.0 perhaps.


  1. Jevon MacDonald
    Jevon MacDonald November 20, 2006

    Woah! Mesh was awsome, and the mesh meetup was even better (due to a trip to a russian vodka bar after….?)
    BUT, don’t make that mistake! Mesh was anything but an Unconference…
    Truly, not even close.

  2. Rob Hyndman
    Rob Hyndman November 20, 2006

    Well, we’re trying, Jevon. We had rooms available for it last year, but people didn’t really seem that interested. We have some ideas on how to make it more unconference-y this year, but we’re also definitely interested in any suggestions you have.

  3. Jevon
    Jevon November 21, 2006

    Just because it wasn’t an unconference doesn’t make it bad.
    To be honest, you are going to have so much interest again this year that your hands get tied more and more.
    Mesh was a great conference, with some unconferency (sp?) features, but it just wasn’t a full on unconference, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.
    My sense would be to run an unconference style even the day before and let those who are really interested come. I think with all the out-of-towners who come in for Mesh that a lot of local people would support that, and perhaps take over organizing it for you (as I am sure you have your work cut out for you already).
    And interesting thing might be to keep a part of the main mesh agenda open and let whatever bubbles up at the uncoference be presented there…
    Who knows.

  4. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke November 21, 2006

    Too kind to mention me – all I did was stand there and listen to you and Matt go back and forth…which is really all I do at these events anyway.

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